HC Deb 21 December 1988 vol 144 cc440-1
10. Mr. Patrick Thompson

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will make a statement on the level of inward investment secured in 1988.

21. Mr. Allan Stewart

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland whether he has any plans to meet the ambassador of the United States of America to discuss inward investment into Scotland.

Mr. Rifkind

The estimated value of planned inward investment to Scotland from April 1988 to date is £306.6 million with the prospect of the creation or safeguarding of 4,451 jobs. At present I have no plans to meet the ambassador of the United States of America for this purpose.

Mr. Thompson

Can my right hon. and learned Friend confirm that since 1981 inward investment in Scotland has created or safeguarded 50,000 jobs? Is not that a tribute to the skill and talent of the Scottish work force as well as a justification for the Government's policies?

Mr. Rifkind

It is also a tribute to Locate in Scotland, which was created by this Government and has been remarkably successful in attracting inward investment to Scotland.

Mr. Allan Stewart

Can my right hon. and learned Friend confirm that at a time of rising protectionism in the United States, it is the Government's policy to give unequivocal support to the success of responsible American investment in Scotland and the United Kingdom generally? Can he further confirm that we expect reciprocal treatment from the United States Congress?

Mr. Rifkind

That is a desirable objective. The United Kingdom has substantially benefited from being attractive to overseas investment, and Scotland has shown herself remarkably able to attract that investment.

Mr. Norman Hogg

Does the Secretary of State agree that the best record of achievement in inward investment to Scotland in the post-war period is that of the five Scottish new towns? Will he give an undertaking now to leave in place those mechanisms designed to achieve inward investment in the new towns, notwithstanding what else may happen as a consequence of the review of new towns' functions?

Mr. Rifkind

The hon. Gentleman is right to pay tribute to the success of new towns in attracting inward investment. I agree also that., in considering the future of new towns and their possible winding up, we must explore ways of ensuring that they can continue to be attractive locations for inward investment. The consultative document that we published recently invites contributions designed to achieve that effect.

Mr. Andy Stewart

Does my right hon. and learned Friend agree that, apart from the qualities of the Scottish people, the reason for increased inward investment is that Scotland is part of the United Kingdom?

Mr. Rifkind

It is certainly an asset for Scotland that it has benefited from low taxation, improved industrial relations, and increased competitiveness, which are a direct result of the Government's policies.